Vietnam Veteran Pens Memoir
After completing a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam, Robert Driscoll returned to the United States in 1968 a changed man. Once sociable, talkative and patriotic, Driscoll distanced himself from family and friends and found himself questioning his core beliefs.
“The military taught me how to survive, and I thought I could turn it off,” said Driscoll, who shares his war experience and the devastating effect post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had on his life as well as the life of his family through a memoir entitled “Returning For My Brother.”
Driscoll, 62, stated it wasn’t until around 1990 that he received an unexpected diagnosis from VA hospital officials he was suffering from a “slight case” of PTSD. Under the assumption he was only at the hospital to answer a series of questions based on his tour of duty, Driscoll said he went into a rage at the news.
“I was wrong about having things under control,” said Driscoll, who recalled neatly packing away anything that connected him to the war effort, whether it be an Army uniform or military ribbons, soon after departing Logan Airport in Boston. Soon thereafter, Driscoll suffered a flashback to Vietnam while on a Boy Scout outing that in turn led to counseling for himself and his wife and three children.
“Reliving Vietnam was part of my path to recovery,” Driscoll stated. Three 12-week intensive training sessions, group meetings, counseling, medication, herbal remedies and even acupuncture were utilized during that period of recovery, but it wasn’t until he visited a spiritual healer that Driscoll reported that there was no longer something missing in his life.
Nearly four years in the making, “Returning For My Brother,” Driscoll’s first book, is slated to be released on March 15. He said God helped him on a spiritual level to write the memoir that reveals his raw feelings through self-reflection.
“ ... I feel I have a moral responsibility to educate those who are willing to listen and learn of the social consequences of war, its trauma and of PTSD,” Driscoll told the “News.” “It is hard to believe in 2010 we continue to see our returning warriors ‘get through’ by perpetuating the war-zone learned behaviors. These can sometimes result in self medication with drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the after effects of war. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
“I have written this book in an effort to support those returning warriors, and all warriors: veterans that live with guilt and isolation, questioning their very existence and struggling to cope with everyday stress after their war. In addition, I offer a unique window into the life of the returning warrior for their families, friends and the mental and healthcare professionals who work to understand and heal them. The book also identifies the path of recovery that I have been on for the past 20 years,” he added.
Now residing at the Farm of Peace located at 1212 Haven Lane, Warfordsburg, Driscoll will be following up on the book’s release with a veterans-only workshop set for March 17-21. The spiritual retreat will be held at the Farm of Peace and includes appearances by Driscoll and Salima Adelstein, master healer and department head of Spiritual Ministry and Sufi Studies at the University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism.
Hoping to stay in the area for several years, Driscoll is also in the process of contacting officials from VFW posts and American Legions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
“My goal is to save one veteran’s life and to prevent one family from breaking apart,” he concluded. “Veterans need to know there is help and that they are not alone.”